Getting Stabbed in the Back... Because I Tried Acupuncture

As I've mentioned in some recent posts, I've been struggling with an IT band flare which then moved to lower back pain and is now somewhere between my lower back and hamstrings/left hip. #ThisIs30 I *think* it was brought on by running at an incline, which is part of the interval work at Mile High, but is something I am not at all used to. When a friend suggested I try acupuncture, I was a little hesitant but shuffling around and taking Aleve on the regular are not on my list of things to do for 2017 so I figured why not. 

2017 is the year of the Rooster but who says it isn't also the year of the hedgehog? IG: @hedgehog_azuki

2017 is the year of the Rooster but who says it isn't also the year of the hedgehog? IG: @hedgehog_azuki

After checking out the website of the acupuncturist I was referred to (I'll call her June, which is not her real name, for ease and privacy's sake) and reading a bit more about acupuncture in general, I booked an appointment. Going in, I was really nervous but I was also excited because let me tell you, I am SO over this discomfort. It's now been a little over 2 weeks of not being fully functional and it really starts to grate on you, not to mention interrupt your normal daily activities- I'm looking at you subway stairs (and all stairs). I'm happy to report that after session one, I felt a lot of improvement and *fingers crossed,* after my next appointment, I'll be more or less cured. 

Did it hurt? What exactly happened? Did you feel like a pincushion? -- As if I'd leave you hanging.

For the first 20ish minutes of the appointment, June and I reviewed the medical history paperwork I had filled out and discussed my current ailment and overall well-being/general health (though given how extensive the forms were, there was basically nothing left to talk about). From there, June told me what she thought I would need and it was time to get on the table. June wanted to work on my back, hips, knees (backs and sides), and upper buttocks so I was face down which was A-ok with me. Just before June stepped out to let me undress and situate myself on the table, I got really nervous. I HATE needles. I was the kid who jumped off the table and "hid" underneath it when she was told she needed a shot. I was the teen who wasn't told she'd be getting a shot until she was in the doctor's office, out of concern that I might not come. I was the college student who was known by the nurses at a school of over 6,000 students for crying if she needed a shot/blood taken. Am I also the girl with a tattoo on her ribs (one of the most painful locations to get inked), you bet :) June assured me that everyone gets nervous and said she didn't think it would hurt too much overall.

Whenever I think of acupuncture, this SATC episode is pretty much the first thing that comes to mind.  [Photo is from Sex & the City, owned by HBO]

Whenever I think of acupuncture, this SATC episode is pretty much the first thing that comes to mind. 

[Photo is from Sex & the City, owned by HBO]

Once the needles started going in, my nerves eased. Obviously everyone's pain tolerance, body, and treatment is different, but I really didn't find it super painful. There were a few spots where I really felt the needles, mainly where the pain was, but June was amazing and would warn me "This one may hurt/You may feel this one more" so I was prepared. By contrast, some needles I didn't feel AT ALL. To give you an idea, after the needles were out, I asked how many there had been. I expected June to say 10-12. Any guesses? It was 26! That means I felt a little less than half of them. After the needles are in, June left the room for 5 minutes and told me to yell for her (her office is just on the other side of the wall from the treatment room) if I needed anything. Once the 5 minutes were up, she came back to check on me and make a few adjustments, then it was back to chilling like a porcupine. I'm not sure how long this stretch lasted but considering my appointment was nearly 2 hours in total, it had to have been at least 30 minutes, though it felt much shorter. Then it was needles out, a quick chat and I was on my way. A word of warning, don't expect to go straight from acupuncture to a meeting or anything that requires you be fully alert. I was in this sort of blissed out haze, much like how I am post massage, I may even have started walking the wrong way down the block #oops.

Am I now an acupuncture convert? I don't know. I don't think it's necessarily the right treatment for everyone BUT I definitely think it helped me and I'm really looking forward to my next appointment.

Have you tried acupuncture? What do you think of the practice?